As he admitted, “It wouldn’t bother me if it were someone who’s always hated me; but this is someone who said she’s/he’s my friend. We went to school together and church together and I was in their wedding and…It hurts so badly.”
The most historically awful betrayal, of course, is the betrayal of Jesus by Judas: “Would you betray Me…[mark Me off for the bad guys]…with a kiss…a sign of affection and allegiance?”
Et as Psalm 55 suggests without objection from anyone, betrayal is one of those bad behaviors proving there is nothing original about sin.
Betrayal hurts so badly because it means misplaced trust and misplaced trust always falls, fractures, and fails.
The betrayed resonate with David’s unsettled distress: “Oh God, I really need You. My insides are being turned inside out. My heart is broken. I want to run away. I can’t stand it. I wish I were like a bird and could just fly away.”
Getting specific about the pain of betrayal, David wails, “This isn’t some stranger. This isn’t somebody that I don’t know. We grew up together. We played together. We were tight. Now, she’s/he’s bad-mouthing me and wishing me worse.”
Then David explodes naturally, “Just haul ‘em off to hell, Lord. Take care of them. Retaliate for me!”
David, like too many posers that should know better après all these years, hasn’t really caught on to the full measure of grace, mercy, and forgiveness wrapped in love by Jesus.
That maturity escapes everyone who isn’t tight with Jesus.
It’s like people who want to win more than love, fight more than befriend, and get over more than get along…you know…like those pathetically selfish and pandering politicians in Springfield and DC that would serve satanos and abandon the Constitution and Bible for a few more votes.
Fortunately, David is growing in/through/for the Lord and his trust in the Lord overcomes the meanness, madness, misery, and miscreance of life in a fallen world; so he ends up praising God for the ultimate victory: “God will help me and anyone who calls on Him. God will come through sooner or later, usually sooner than later, and definitely in the end. He’ll never let people who love Him end up in ruin like the destiny of those who never outgrow their disrespect, defiance, disobedience, and ingratitude.”
David seems to forget or maybe ran out of parchment or something and doesn’t have the room or enough confessional humility to admit just a few psalms ago in #51 that he got caught with his pants down with somebody else’s wife and then murdered the poor fellah to cover up the crimes and only gained forgiveness from God après admitting it and pledging to do better.
That’s why we need to get together so often to remind ourselves that we’ve always got room for improvement even after receiving Jesus into our hearts as Lord and Savior and heading down paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Even churches that should know better fall off the wagon every now and then.
Instead of following Jesus by the book as enlightened by the Holy Spirit that never contradicts Jesus by the book, they make up stuff and turn opinions and traditions and feelings and wants into the religious idolatries that the prophets always cautioned against and Jesus criticized so severely (e.g., take a look at Matthew 15 and 23): “So man created God in the image of man. In the image of man, man created God.”
I’ll never forget reading this letter sent to someone very close to me back on November 29, 1988: “The moneyed flock at _____is more interested in an extension of their country club than in an anointed, vital hour of worship…They do not feel comfortable at the overuse of My name…They chafe at My correction.”
It happens everywhere; and it’s happened repeatedly throughout the sad history of churches that too often look into the mirror and mistake the reflection for Jesus.
Back to the letter: “The appearance of my chosen servant, who has unashamedly lifted Me up, has caused them to long for the manipulative compromises of days gone by. The Jezebel spirit among them has been alerted and aroused. They lust after the comfortable and the familiar. They would keep their sin hidden. They would say My chosen lacks wisdom and acts rashly. They would shout that he offends or is merely unwisely youthful. This noise is a clatter in My ears. I say TRUTH is the offense.”
While acknowledging the pain of anyone that dares to follow God too closely as personified in Jesus and prescribed in Holy Scripture, the letter, just like Psalm 55, moves from betrayal to trust in God to work it all out because God always ends up honoring those who honor Him: “I desire the whole man and not his career. He knows this. With his whole heart, he has consistently asked me to use and inhabit his clay temple. Do you not think that I will answer? Have I not heard this cry to Me? I will live in this man openly. His words are gibberish to those who have no ears to hear.”
Then turning attention to those who have betrayed, “I will answer his heart’s cry and remove all the barriers to what I am doing in this place. He must not mourn their leaving. I will erase the carefully-learned teachings that sprang from the minds of men and leave only the bursting springs of salvation. I will erase his tender need for the approval of man and leave only the raw passion to please Me and Me alone.”
Finally, “He has served many in his life, other masters have ruled over him; but he has made mention of My name by My power and Mine alone, and I will now arise and scatter and confuse his enemies.”
So it happens from Moses through David through the prophets through Jesus through the apostles through the saints of all ages right down to the recipient of that letter in 1988 with many more chapters of fidelity to be written.
Receptive clay vessels to God filled with the finest gold from God!
Read Isaiah 26 sometime for some stark commentary on that!
Simply, fidelity not betrayal is blessed by God.
Yet, again, just like David, we’ve got to be careful not to forget we never outgrow our need for God to save us because we have that instinct called original sin that keeps pulling us away from God into betrayals.
That really hit home for me when I got back from a wonderfully relaxing week with my wife in Florida with only a few weeks of winter left after Easter.
I was sitting on our back porch on May 4, 2019 during a devotional moment when He hit me.
It was as overwhelming as that moment in Montana back in October 2011 when God opened up Matthew 15 and 23 in ways that alerted me to idolatries still plaguing God’s people and how we tolerate them and how we must be more intentional about abandoning them to increase intimacy with our Lord.
Anyway, accompanied by spiritually audible gutturals reminiscent of Hebrew classes in seminary, the Lord compelled me to confess my repeated sin throughout my life and ministry of enabling, accommodating, embracing, and sometimes even participating in behaviors antithetical to Christianity according to Jesus by the book coupled with excuses, rationalizations, and other evidences of intentional as well as instinctual infidelity.
O.K., that’s a mouthful.
That was the general sense of the apocalyptic moment.
The details emerged over several hours.
I was reminded that deliverance ministries as well as most psychospiritual therapies are rarely effective if the demonized or psychospiritually dysfunctional are compromised by mood-modifying meds.
Simply, it’s a waste of time to try to heal anyone who is under the influence of legal or illegal dope.
Similarly, providing pastoral care for someone who is not “regular” in worship – the only indispensable activity of faith and surest way to increasing intimacy with God – is a pret’ near waste of time.
Practically, I was convicted of the sin of enabling, accommodating, embracing, and participating in rituals+ceremonies=rites like baptisms and weddings with people that don’t worship God with any fidelity; meaning I am sinning against God by, again, enabling, accommodating, embracing, and participating in their superficial, artificial, and inauthentic theater that disrespects God’s holiness with ingratitude for who He is and what He is done for our salvation by grace through faith in Jesus.
Essentially, I was told not to cast His pearls before swine.
I was convicted.
Here, there, and everywhere, I’ve been castigating my denomination for being irretrievably apostate under current management and I’ve been baptizing babies whose parents didn’t, don’t, and won’t worship Him and presiding at weddings for couples who didn’t worship before the wedding, haven’t since, and won’t any time soon.
The echo deafens the unfaithful excuses and rationalizations as it convicts the soul: “Would you betray Me with a kiss?”
Here’s the point.
I have been accusing people of all kinds of infidelities while I’ve been enabling, accommodating, embracing, and participating in a bunch of ‘em for too many years.
“What’s that I see in my eye?”
It’s like that old song by Eric Clapton: “Before you accuse me, take a look at yourself.”
For me, it’s been more like this: “Before you accuse them, take a look in the mirror.”
When it comes to betrayals, who is betraying whom?
We’re hurt by betrayals and we hurt by betrayals; and that voice echoes, “As you betray them, you betray Me.”
He feels the pain that we inflict on each other as if it were being inflicted on Him.
Here’s His point.
We need a Savior.
He knows we’re going to betray each other and betray Him.
He knows that.
The good news has always been that omniscient Father God is omnipotent to provide His omnipresent salvation to all of us by grace through faith so that any of life’s betrayals will not matter in the end.
I guess this is a good time to read the best summary of that gospel in John 3:16-17.